Thursday, March 5, 2020

Freedom In Surrender - Matthew 19

I find, in the paradoxical teachings and actions of Christ, a sort of intellectual hook. Teachings like the first shall be last, losing your life to save it and so forth hit me much like the edgy questions brilliant professors will often pose in order to challenge students to think beyond their current understanding. So it makes sense that Jesus would use some of this seemingly self contradictory rhetoric in answering this rich young ruler with his moral swagger and rabbinical intellect. He'd lived well by the law, a ruler of religion and was extremely wealthy to boot, yet he himself sensed there was still something missing if he was to obtain eternal life. Jesus gave him a quick look in the mirror by suggesting the impossible. Keep all the commandments. Jesus acknowledged in the same breath that only He is good enough to do that. Still the young man couldn't or wouldn't look deep enough within to see his own folly so Jesus, welling up with love for the young man and the sincerity of his quest, give's it to him as an action step. Surrender your possessions. That's clear enough but turns out to be the one thing the young man could not bring himself to do. While it's great to own many things, it's to your destruction if those many things own you. And so it was with this rich young ruler who had wealth of possessions and so much going for him, yet would not fully surrender. He could have walked away that day richer than ever, full of joy, free and heaven bound but instead he left destitute, with a dark sadness, captive to his countless possessions and still not possessing eternal life.  Let that be a lesson to us, that in Christ, the answer to all of life's problems, the discovery of the missing pieces, the power to overcome the most daunting obstacles and the freedom to live the life we were created to live will always be found in surrender. Remember always that when we surrender our will, we discover how infinitely better His will is and how perfect His plans and his timing. When we surrender our pride and our superficial shortcomings, we experience His power and ultimately the assurance of who we are in Him, so far superior to our meager ideals. And when we surrender whatever dominates our time, our attention and treasures, we find true freedom to live!

The Royal Treatment - John 13

One of our family scripture readings during Advent is John 13. It's fun to talk with my kids about all that we can learn from Jesus'...